Sometimes when you apply color to your hair, you may not get the desired results. It could get so bad that you’d rather return to your natural hair color or original color if you had dyed it previously.
When that happens, most people go for hair color removers to help wash it away. The question is, does using hair color removers damage your hair?
If you’re considering removing your hair color using hair color removers, you need to understand whether the ingredients in these products damage your hair.
Can Hair Color Removers Damage Your Hair?
Yes, hair color removers can cause damage to your hair. Not because they make any structural changes to your hair, like hair dye, but because they can be harsh and drying. They are almost as damaging as hair bleach.
Their primary role is to remove hair dye through the process of oxidation, making the dye colorless. But it’s also recommended to use a clarifying shampoo before you start to help remove hair dye from the cuticle of the hair. Hair color remover doesn’t take away your natural hair color if it doesn’t contain bleach or hydrogen peroxide.
Avoid those that contain ammonia or bleach. If you can find a hair color remover that’s moisturizing, it can help counteract some of the drying effects. To avoid more damage than is necessary when using a hair color remover, read the box to make sure it will actually work with the kind of hair dye that’s in your hair. That way you won’t have to do the process over and over.
Effects of Hair Color Removers on Your Hair
Hair color removers correct, lighten or remove permanent hair dyes. They achieve this by either oxidizing or reducing the hair dye molecules. In the process, they break down the colored molecules into smaller, colorless molecules, which you can later wash off your hair.
Because hair color removers are reducing or oxidizing agents, they are reactive molecules. Therefore, they can also react with the hair proteins, causing damage to your hair.
For this reason, it’s crucial that you follow all the product usage instructions carefully. Otherwise, you risk completely damaging your hair in the process.
Some of the most common ingredients present in popular hair color removers that may damage your hair include:
Hydrogen Peroxide and Persulfates
Other hair color remover products contain persulfates and hydrogen peroxide. These ingredients bleach hair.
In the process of the hair color remover breaking down the hair dyes, it interferes with the melanin and proteins of your hair.
Although manufacturers will always say the peroxide presence is only enough to lift your hair, it’ll still have a damaging effect on your hair. Remember, melanin gives your hair its natural color, and if damaged, it makes it hard to get your natural hair color back.
Sometimes, the persulfates may be the only oxidizing agent present in a hair color remover. Such removers are not too strong. But that doesn’t mean they won’t have an impact on your hair. They’ll still affect its protein and melanin.
Some color removers use sodium hydrosulfite, also known as sodium dithionite, to remove hair color. When you mix this product with water, a reaction occurs in which sodium hydrosulfite is converted to sodium bisulfite and sodium thiosulfate.
This bisulfite is the same ingredient that perming treatments contain for reducing hair. What does this mean?
If you use a color remover with bisulfite, chances are there will be a reaction that may cause damage. Granted, your intention is to remove hair color, not your hair. Unfortunately, you may observe some patches where the bisulfate has reduced your hair, contrary to your expectations.
The Overall Damaging Effect
In the process of hair color removal, many chemical processes take place for which you will feel the effect. For example, once the removers reach your scalp, you’ll feel some burning.
For this reason, be very careful not to touch them with your bare hands. Also, try as much as possible not to touch the scalp with hair color remover as the ingredients present may remove the protective oils in your scalp, exposing it to environmental damage. We all know how important the scalp is and wouldn’t want to damage it.
The bottom line is, all hair color removers are either reducing or oxidizing the dyes. And as long as this is how they work, the chances of damaging your hair are high. Why? Because the same reducing and oxidizing agents can react with your hair, resulting in dry, rough hair and in some cases, hair loss due to breakages.
How to Minimize Hair Color Remover Damage
Anytime you’re applying hair color remover to your hair, you’re exposing it to potential damage. Nonetheless, with some extra care, you can manage the damage. Some of the hair color removal tips you can try are:
- Avoid hair color removers with ammonia, peroxides, and any other potentially damaging ingredient where possible.
- Follow the hair color remover instructions carefully.
- Before you can apply the product, make sure your scalp is healthy. If you have any issues with your scalp, such as psoriasis and dandruff, resolve these first before applying the remover. Also, try as much as possible not to touch the scalp with the hair color remover.
- Don’t expose your hair to the remover longer than the instructions recommend.
- Finally, whatever you do, don’t mix different hair color remover brands.
Removing hair color is not easy. It’s also a risk you take with your hair. If you’ve been switching your permanent hair dye frequently, the damaging impact will soon be evident.
If you have to use hair color remover, try to use products experts consider safer and follow all the instructions to the letter to protect the hair you dearly love.
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